Rumors swirl as Oregon defeats Wash St 74-66
EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—Lekendric Longmire had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Oregon defeated Washington State 74-66 in the regular season finale amid a report that beleaguered Oregon coach Ernie Kent has already been fired.
Eugene television station KVAL reported Kent’s firing during the game. The station cited unidentified sources as saying Kent had been told he was being let go on Feb. 22 after home losses to Stanford and California.
Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti would not confirm the story as he was leaving McArthur Court after the game.
A near sellout crowd of 8,761 watched the Ducks (15-5, 7-11 Pac-10) beat the Cougars (16-14, 7-11) to prevent a last-place finish in the Pac-10 for the second straight season.
E.J. Singler also scored 15 for Oregon, Tajuan Porter scored 12 and Jeremy Jacobs had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Klay Thompson had a game-high 22 points for Washington State. DeAnglo Casto added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Oregon led 29-27 at halftime and Singler hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half for the Ducks to extend their lead to 35-30.
DeAnglo Casto converted a layup for the Cougars to cut their deficit to 35-32 at the 17:44 mark. But the Ducks followed with a 10-0 run to go up 45-32 with 12:47 left.
It was the final Pac-10 Conference game at Mac Court. The Ducks will play the 2010-11 nonconference season at the 83-year-old arena before moving to the new $200 million Matthew Knight Arena by the start of Pac-10 play next January.
Kent, a former Oregon player in his 13th season at his alma mater, is the winningest coach in school history with an overall record of 234-172.
He has taken the Ducks (15-15, 7-11) to five NCAA tournaments and in 2002 and 2007 reached the Round of 8. But Oregon went 8-23 last season and won just two conference games. This season has been marked by disappointing losses and dwindling attendance.